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The Significance of Diverse Thinking in the Age of AI: Qlik

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

While it’s true that great minds often share similar thoughts, relying too heavily on homogeneity can lead to hive thinking, a phenomenon we must strive to distance ourselves from as a society. This is according to Chief Strategy Officer for Qlik, James Fisher.

Intellectual vacuum

Fisher says, “Social media is a good example of this: it has created an intellectual vacuum in which people are constantly being fed content by people who think like them and lack exposure to different points of view. Algorithms tailoring content to our personal preferences are great when it comes to light-hearted, humorous videos, but not so much when it limits our perspective on the world and society.”

“Consequently, we are increasingly looking more and more inwardly on ourselves and the people we follow. This is already making us less diverse in our thinking and approach to life, as well as problem solving, and it will continue in the long term. These issues also apply to the business world: lack of cognitive diversity in decision making process can lead to silo thinking, which with time curbs growth.” says Fisher

“However, it doesn’t need to be that way. With the right data strategy and data analytics and management tools, business leaders can attract and encourage more diverse minds and input, leading to greater chances of steady innovation and growth.” adds Fisher

The power of diversity when strategising

G Eiermann
Diversity and Transformation. (georg-eiermann)

Fisher says that in the realm of business, cognitive diversity holds particular significance, especially in the realm of business strategy formulation. This is especially true for organizations constantly seeking advancement and asking themselves, “What’s next?” The profound impact of cognitive diversity becomes evident in the crafting of business strategies, the generation of innovative ideas, and the development of new products and services.

“There are many great minds who studied human and market behaviour, including Matthew Syed, author of Rebel Ideas, who warns against the danger of having homogenous geniuses or experts in the room, as it is detrimental to innovation and growth in the long run, and independent thinker Vikram Mansharami, a frequent commentator on issues driving disruption in the global business environment.” he says

Think tank and informed advise

“A good example of where cognitive diversity has worked well. Gareth Southgate, the former England football team’s head coach, created the FA Technical Advisory Board consisting of unpaid volunteers, including Syed himself, that meet regularly to advise the coach on performance. This volunteer group is made up of non-footballing individuals, including a tech entrepreneur, a college commander and a cycling coach.” he adds

According to Fisher, each of these individuals contributed their unique viewpoints and experiences, collectively offering a diverse array of perspectives on performance improvement. This not only enriches our understanding but also helps guard against echo-chamber scenarios, wherein team members simply echo each other’s assumptions without critical examination.

“Bringing the focus back to a world of business and analytics, combined with AI and now Gen AI, we can only achieve the best results, if we are able to derive insights from trusted and diverse sources of data.”

“We should use data to encourage more diverse thinking and remove the unconscious biases we all inherently carry with us. But also ensuring empathy, ethics and morals are part of the process – as this differentiates humans from the machine.” he continues

For all within

Qlik enables data democratization by amalgamating complex data sets from various sources, fostering accessibility and comprehension for all within an organization. This includes not only understanding data relationships for easy exploration but also democratizing the skills needed for data comprehension, crucial in the AI era. Through their Data Literacy initiatives, they prioritize equipping all members of an organization with data literacy, empowering them to contribute effectively to growth through reading, analyzing, and engaging with data.

“Data driven decision-making is more likely to result in fair and equitable outcomes. With the right data and infrastructure, teams can encourage diverse thinking and foster a business culture that embraces different points of view. On the contrary, decision-making could be based on assumptions or stereotypes, which can in turn perpetuate biases and hinder diversity efforts – thwarting innovation in the process.” he adds

Why data matters

From a technology point of view, Fisher says “I often talk about how, from a tech perspective, data is at the core of bringing more innovation to business operations. But data by itself is not enough. We also need a diverse workforce with a variety of backgrounds that contribute to a culture of understanding, learning and exploration.”

“Alongside insights obtained through the appropriate data analytics software, this combination is the ideal formula to guarantee that businesses possess all the necessary tools for continual growth and innovation.” he concludes




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